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Free at Noon Flashback: December’s Artist to Watch Dawg Yawp mesmerizes with their unique brand of sitar-heavy rock

Dawg Yawp | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Dawg Yawp | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

WXPN’s December Artist to Watch Dawg Yawp certainly did not disappoint today at their Free at Noon show.

Helen Leicht said it best, “They had me at sitar.” The duo from Cincinnati consisted of Tyler Randall, Rob Keenan, a sitar, an acoustic guitar and an array of homemade productions that  created the illusion of a much larger band than stood before the crowd that day. I typically try to draw comparisons between the band I’m writing about and another well-known artist so that readers can get a better grasp on the sound of the group set before them. I say this with the utmost sincerity, Dawg Yawp’s sound can be categorized as nothing except completely original. A feat very difficult to achieve in today’s scene that is so densely saturated in guitar rock. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: A packed house welcomes blues rocker Davy Knowles

Davy Knowles | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Davy Knowles | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

In the spirit of giving thanks, Helen Leicht started today’s Free at Noon by introducing Yards Brewing CEO Tom Kehoe, who earlier this month helped to raise $10,000 for Musicians on Call through the Yards Brawlerfest. On the memo line of the giant check that Kehoe presented was the hashtag #BrewUntoOthers, the local brewing company’s mantra that spreads a much-needed message of community involvement and betterment.

Also in the spirit of giving thanks, a near-capacity crowd welcomed blues rock musician Davy Knowles to World Cafe Live for an end-of tour midday concert. The Isle of Man native is currently supporting Three Miles from Avalon, his second solo effort following a popular career with Back Door Slam. Knowles wasted no time making sure we knew what he was there to do – and that was to blow our turkey- (or tofurkey-) filled socks off with blistering guitar solos and the well-crafted, American blues inspired songs from Avalon. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: The Pretenders bring peace, love, and rock n’ roll to the World Cafe Live stage

The Pretenders | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
The Pretenders | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

The Pretenders made the Free at Noon stage their second home, blazing through a set filled with some old and new tunes, all in the name of the band’s comeback release Alone. After keeping quiet for a good couple years (last releasing a record in 2008), these English/American legends blessed the world with the recent release of their new full-length and announcement of an extensive tour with the one and only Stevie Nicks. Lucky for us, World Cafe Live got a sneak preview of what’s to come for the legendary group.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Eric Krasno slays with vivacious jams

Eric Krasno | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Eric Krasno | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Sporting an ear-to-ear grin, Grammy award winning producer/singer-songwriter Eric Krasno took the Free at Noon stage, anxious to play tunes from his 2016 solo debut Blood from a Stone. Humility and art came before anything else, as the band blasted through a 45-minute set jam-packed with constant trades of impeccable musicianship communicated throughout the sextet. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Lydia Loveless rocks out, gets introspective at World Cafe Live

Lydia Loveless | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Lydia Loveless | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Owning the stage with her confident twang, Ohio’s Lydia Loveless showed World Cafe Live her ear-pleasing blend of country, alt-rock and pop with a half-hour set that went by way to quickly. Busting out a majority of her 2016 release Real, Loveless is a true artist’s artist, focusing on nothing but her vision.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Darlingside saves the day and woos the crowd with a stunning performance

Darlingside | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Darlingside | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

No matter how profusely Darlingside refuses to accept that their playing a show today was a huge favor to us, don’t believe a word they say. WXPN is thankful to the Cambridge-based band for playing our Free at Noon show on such short notice after Adia Victoria got sick and was forced to back out of the show.

The four man indie-folk outfit charmed over the summer at XPN Fest and did so again today at World Cafe Live. Their set gave the audience a taste of the autumn air that we’ve been missing (especially on 70 degree days like today) with their warm performance, their grassroots brand of folk music, and nostalgia-inducing lyrics like “Apple cider signs” from their song “White Horses” — which was inspired by an apple orchard that one of the band members used to go to as a child. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Hamilton Leithauser brings 2017 tour to Johnny Brenda’s in February (maybe with Rostam)

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam | Courtesy of the artist
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam | Courtesy of the artist

After making its live debut at Free at Noon earlier this fall, the latest project of indie rocker Hamilton Leithauser just announced a 2017 tour which will kick off January 13th in Texas and will come to a close in Dublin, Ireland on March 12th, stopping in Philadelphia on February 9th at Johnny Brenda’s. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Eric Johnson displays tasteful virtuosity with an intimate, acoustic set

Eric Johnson | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Eric Johnson | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

There’s a fine line between guitar virtuoso and guitar show-off, and, unfortunately, there’s no shortage of the latter. All too often, the music they make devolves into a flashy display of their prowess, and they lose sight of why music exists in the first place–to communicate. Remember Greg? That guy from college who used words like “quixotic” and “lachrymose”? If you thought he was annoying, imagine if he played guitar. Then, imagine the cool guy in the back of the class that was soft-spoken, just as talented, and had way better hair. That’s Eric Johnson. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: “The Mighty Marcus King Band” brings their fiery brand of bluegrass rock to World Cafe Live

Marcus King Band | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Marcus King Band | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Twitter users dubbed them “The Mighty Marcus King Band” while listening to the live stream of the group’s Free At Noon show Friday at World Cafe Live.

The performance by this Greenville, South Carolina six-piece performance was characterized by soaring guitar solos, jazzy brass instrumentals, powerful percussions, and King’s raspy vocals- making mighty a more-than appropriate adjective to describe the band. At only 20 years old, King possesses the maturity of someone far beyond his years. The fifty-minute set showcased the group’s unique brand of Americana-blues rock, and the conclusion of each song was met with roaring (yes I mean roaring) applause by the audience. Continue reading →